The St. Louis Rams had one of the best drafts in franchise history, using 11 picks to fill necessary needs at certain positions and adding depth to areas of the team like the secondary and the defensive line.
It has been a while since there were legitimate position battles during OTA’s and training camp, so this is an exciting time for the Rams and the expectations are high. In the past, it was tough to predict the final 53-man roster because the talent and experience was so scarce that the line between the sure thing starters and the 2nd string players was cloudy. Any new guy or walk on player had a solid chance at making the team in recent years. But now the Rams have established players at a multitude of positions, along with talented incoming rookies who are not only looking to add depth, but also contribute to the team right away during the 2014 season.
If a battle for the third QB spot exists, it will be between former SMU quarterback Garret Gilbert and second year man out of Southern Mississippi, Austin Davis. Bradford is the obvious starter and the Rams signed Shaun Hill to man the backup spot. Gilbert is no blue chip talent but has shown signs of the possibility of development for the future. He will most likely be given the chance to take the third string spot or the Rams will opt to place him on the practice squad which will give him the opportunity to develop without taking up a roster spot.
There is no doubt that Tre Mason will make the team. The Rams used a third round pick on him and expect the college star to add explosiveness and power to the running attack. He will used as a third down back to give Zac Stacy a break and be able to change to pace on offense. It is still up in the air on who the 3rd and 4th running back will be with Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead battling it out. Pead has been productive on special teams which could give him the edge of Cunningham in the running back rotation.
The starting offensive line is somewhat set with some question marks at center and right tackle. Greg Robinson is another guy who is expected to start right away for the Rams on the left side of the offensive line. His dominance in the run game will give the Rams an advantage on the left side no matter who they line up against. Veteran Jake Long will hold down the left tackle spot if he is healthy and Roger Saffold will be starting at right guard. Scott Wells is expected to start at center with Barret Jones and Tim Barnes breathing down his neck. Mitchel Van Dyk is a rookie out of Portland State who will probably not make the team as he competes for a backup tackle spot behind Sean Barksdale.
The ultimate uncertainty for the Rams at this point is their secondary. It was their major weakness in 2014 and they addressed it by drafting four secondary players along with picking up some undrafted free agents.
Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson will most likely lock down the cornerback positions with Greg Reid and E.J. Gaines competing for back up spots. Gaines will most likely be used as a nickelback in passing situations who will look to blitz and attack the quarterback.
Jarrid Bryant out of South Dakota and Marcus Roberson out of Florida will be the dark horses of the back up cornerback positions. Roberson is a guy who was expected to be a third round prospect and will look to make a name for himself in the crowded, young secondary. Maurice Alexander is a 4th-round pick who is a former linebacker who possesses the speed and range to vie for time at safety next to T.J. Mcdonald. Former starter Rodney Mcleod and rookie Christian Bryant out of Ohio State will also look to compete for playing time during camp.